While nearly all of America took a long weekend to reflect, give thanks and relax, the six remaining singers of The Voice were anything but idle. Tessanne Chin, Matthew Schuler, James Wolpert, Will Champlin, Jacquie Lee and Cole Vosbury and their coaches spent the holiday weekend getting ready for tonight. There are no second chances: it's sing to your true potential or go home. Tonight's format has each artist performing two songs - with each song figuring in the critical choice of who will succeed to next week's semifinals.
Up first is the bearded wonder, Cole Vosbury. The charismatic singer with the country music pedigree is Blake Shelton's only remaining hope for a four-peat. Sporting an electric guitar, Cole takes the stage and kicks into a feel-good '70s chestnut: Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl." He captures the crowd quickly and gets smiles from the coaches all around.
Tessanne Chin draws the second slot. Knowing her coach's fondness for reggae in general and Bob Marley in particular, Tessanne has picked a surefire song, "Redemption Song." Like the original, Tessanne performs the song acoustically, bolstered by a trio of backing vocalists. It's a moving, beautiful performance; Adam Levine can't praise her enough.
Matthew Schuler is up next. The handsome singer with the million-dollar smile takes on One Direction's "Story of My Life." Starting on top of a lighted pyramid and soon framed by green lasers and a shimmering wall of lights, Matthew puts on a show with his vocals, hitting high notes that have the audience cheering. Coach Xtina knows he's delivered the vocal he's been capable of tonight.
Adam Levine's Will Champlin draws the next slot. He's worked with his coach on a perfect showcase tune: Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." Will dedicates the song to his wife and baby. He starts at the piano then steps up to the stand mic; there's no denying that the soulful ballad puts Will's ample range on display. The young singer works the melody layer by layer, taking the song to a powerful finish.
James Wolpert heads to the stage next. Dressed in a jacket, plaid shirt and dark tie, the boyish singer looks as if he's come straight from choir practice. But for his first number of the night, James is all rock balladeer, picking an acoustic guitar as he delivers a fresh take on the White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl."
Teenage sensation Jacquie Lee moves up to the stage. At a black baby grand piano, the diminutive singer tears into a soul classic that was famously recorded by Janis Joplin, "Cry Baby." The plaintive love song is a perfect platform for her soaring voice. Belting from the first note, she's quickly got the crowd in the palm of her hand. Xtina couldn't be prouder, rushing to the stage to explain that Jacquie left her heart and soul right at center stage.
After a break, Cole's back at it again, this time sporting an acoustic guitar. At a set dimly light by electric candles and stylish work lamps, the soulful singer puts on a show, singing a sultry, powerful version of James Morrison's "Better Man." Blake's got nothing but kind words for his singer.
Tessanne Chin returns to the stage next. Paul Mirkovich and the band kick up the tempo, and Tessanne launches into Katy Perry's "Unconditionally." As rose petals fall from the rafters, she pushes the song to its limits. Topping Katy Perry's vocal power may seem an impossible task, but if anyone is to do it, it's Tessanne. As she brings the song to crescendo, the audience is on its feet.
Matthew Schuler returns. Standing in front of a grand piano and seemingly floating on a sea of fog, the college student delivers a masterful interpretation of one of soul's greatest songs: Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." It's a tearjerker, a tour de force that reinforces Matthew's reputation as one of the greatest Voice singers ever.
Will Champlin is back at the stage for his second number, Avicii's "Hey Brother." Will showcases yet another musical talent: he picks a banjo as he attacks the indie song and makes it his own. His coach again is effusive in his praise. "He's the real deal," remarks Adam.
Jacquie Lee is back for her second performance. Surrounded by a full band (including strings and backing vocals), the high schooler aims for the brass ring, putting all she's got into Christina Aguilera's "The Voice Within." Again, it's a showstopper; Xtina gushes, knowing she's helped the young artist deliver a pair of special performances tonight.
And closing it out is James Wolpert. His song choice, Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" is a gem, especially in his hands. As a bank of stage fog cascades down the stage's staircase, James has the audience on his wavelength from the opening notes. Over sustained applause, James takes a bow. Carson hurriedly informs us about the various methods for voting and reminds everyone that voting is open until tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. ET. It's been an exhausting night of emotional, over-the-top performances from what's clearly the strongest field of Voice vocalists in show history. And now, in just 24 hours, the artists will learn just which of them is headed for the semifinals and a fight to the finish.
The Top 6 perform for your votes and a berth in the semifinals.